The new year is in full swing now and we’re busy with continuing to find and create resources to help you with your work. In case you missed it, you can access the January issue of Leading Links here – it highlights key trends for the year and is packed with tips and insights. In addition to that:
- On Thursday, March 11, we’ll host a new Leading Learning Webinar: The Surge of the Third Sector: Implications for Your Learning Business. Get the details and register for free >>
Now, on to this month’s links.
[Leadership] Leading with Inclusion
The upside of inclusion is roundly positive not just from an ethical or cultural perspective, but also from a learning perspective. Diverse voices carry with them new information and insights. It follows, in our opinion, that a central focus of leaders within learning businesses should be to cultivate inclusion among staff, among volunteers and contractors, and to the extent possible, among the audiences served. This Fast Company piece provides insights into behaviors that help.
[Strategy] The Evolution of Credentials
How we think about credentials is one of the most important aspects of learning business strategy these days. If you aren’t clear about how the learning you offer connects to validation that carries weight in the job market, then it’s safe to say your strategy needs significant work. This two-part series from The Evolllution – Part I and Part II – highlights some key ways in which the credentialing ecosystem is evolving. You might want to read these in tandem with Four Trends in Professional Development and Continuing Education.
[Portfolio] A Virtual Reality Mini-Issue
Virtual reality seems to have some new wind in its sails as we make our way into a new year. Training Industry highlights four reasons to start using virtual reality in 2021. Working Nation notes that a number of back-to-work programs already are. Of course, that begs the question: does virtual reality actually lead to better learning? 3- Star Learning Experiences has jumped in to tackle the question. Spoiler alert: the answers at this point are equivocal.
The truth is, we are still in early days. Learning businesses serving fields where hands-on or immersive training is essential – healthcare and manufacturing come to mind – should seriously consider strategic experimentation with virtual and/or augmented reality, but with a scientific and skeptical eye. For those who want to keep track of how the various forms of extended reality (XR) are evolving, we recommend the Learning Guild’s XR for Learning series.
[Capacity] Knowledge as Leverage
So often the knowledge that exists within an organizations remains within individuals or silos of individuals. As a result, the capacity of the organization suffers. We agree with Chris Lema that sharing everything you know is a good practice – one we try our best to follow in what we do with Leading Learning.
Helping others to share their knowledge is also critical, particularly if you are in any sort of leadership role (and you are). A great step in that direction is to review these 16 reasons why people don’t share their knowledge and develop approaches to overcoming them within your learning business – and, for that matter, among the audience of learners you serve.
All of this, by the way, jibes well with the concept of working out loud.
[Marketing] Using Data to Do It Right
Data is one of the key areas in which the similarities between marketing and education is glaringly apparent. In both disciplines, data provide the insights into individual characteristics and behavior that are essential for developing truly effective and impactful experiences.
This Marketing Land post makes the important point that, in spite of all the hype about big data, small data is often what’s most practically useful to businesses. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is cited as an example. We’d add Van Westendorp pricing analysis to that along with needs assessment surveys (big caveat: when they are done well). The key is to not allow outliers – often in the form of a “vocal minority” to skew the data.
Of course, a big benefit of having data is that it empowers you to make arguments for the actions you feel are right for your organization. To do that effectively, you might want to try some charts you’ve never used, but should. And you might want to understand why those with the least—and most—perceived expertise on a topic are often the least curious about learning more. Adjust accordingly.
That’s it for this edition. If you find Leading Links valuable, please share it with a colleague who may also find it valuable. (And, of course, they can get their own subscription here.)